In late January, when the U-Fly lease finished, I flew our Skyleader GP One back to Manapouri from Wanaka. A longer trip than planned because I chose to divert further south-east via Roxburgh and Tapanui to avoid bad weather. Even so, I was dodging around rain showers.
A long spell of lovely fine weather allowed me to do lots of solo training in the GP One. Practising 'forced' landings at random moments was much easier than expected - the GP One glides so well that you have plenty of time to make decisions about suitable landing sites and to line up for your chosen paddock. I even found that EFATO exercises were not stressful in the GP One.
The next day was absolutely perfect for flying, so I set out on a Southland tour. First I followed the meandering Waiau River south until I reached the ocean. Then along the rocky coastline east past Riverton to the Thornbury farm strip.
After having lunch there with some other pilots, I took off and snuck around the north edge of controlled airspace to my brother’s farm by the Mataura River at Seaward Downs. After circling his house until he ran out and waved, I did a long leg directly over the Hokonui Hills and the Lowther Ridge until I was overhead the former Fiver Rivers gliding strip. For a break, I flew a few miles sou'west to land on an ag strip at Mossburn.
Final flight was following nor-west up the Oreti River, then over the hills past Mt Prospect to Te Anau before landing back at Manapouri.